The Greatness of Humility

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Memorial of Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

Readings for Today


“I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”  John 1:26–27

Now that our Christmas Octave is completed, we immediately begin to look toward the future ministry of our Lord. In our Gospel today, Saint John the Baptist is the one who points us to that future ministry of Jesus. He acknowledges his mission to baptize with water is one that is temporary and only a preparation for the One Who is coming after him.

As we saw in several of our Advent readings, Saint John the Baptist is a man of great humility. His admission that he is not worthy to untie even Jesus’ sandal straps is proof of this fact. But ironically, it is this humble admission that makes him so great!

Do you want to be great? Deep down we all do. This desire goes hand in hand with our innate desire for happiness. We want our lives to have meaning and purpose, and we want to make a difference. The question is “How?” How do you do this? How do you achieve true greatness?

From a worldly perspective, greatness can often become synonymous with success, riches, power, admiration from others, etc. But from a divine perspective, greatness is achieved by humbly giving God the greatest glory we can with our lives.

Giving God all the glory has a double effect upon our lives. First, doing so allows us to live in accord with the truth of life. The truth is that God and God alone deserves all our praise and glory. All good things come from God and God alone. Second, humbly giving God all the glory and pointing to the fact that we are unworthy of Him has the reciprocal effect of God reaching down and elevating us to share in His life and His glory.

Reflect, today, upon your calling to imitate the humility of Saint John the Baptist. Never shy away from humbling yourself before the greatness and glory of God. Doing so will not demean you or hamper your greatness. Rather, only in the deepest humility before the glory of God is God able to draw you into the greatness of His very life and mission.

Lord, I give all glory and praise to You and You alone. You are the source of all good; without You I am nothing. Help me to continually humble myself before You so that I may share in the glory and greatness of Your life of grace. Jesus, I trust in You.

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Featured image above: The Baptism of Christ By Nicolás Enríquez, via Wikimedia Commons

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